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Attracting and developing employees

As an innovative company, we need talented and well-trained employees. At all sites, we face the challenge of attracting talented people to our company and retaining qualified employees. Particularly in Europe and the United States, but also in China and other Asian countries, we must adapt to stronger competition for specialists. We are constantly seeking chemists, pharmacologists, medical scientists, biostatisticians, biochemists, business administration experts, engineers, and IT specialists, as well as people who are able and willing to take on managerial responsibility. In emerging countries, we face the particular challenge of attracting qualified executives to our company. The Corporate HR unit within Group Human Resources is responsible for developing and steering strategic measures for attracting talent and retaining employees. Employees of Corporate HR at the legal entities are implementing the measures locally.

Attracting young professionals

In 2010, we launched the “Make great things happen” campaign to position ourselves globally as an attractive employer. The campaign highlights our strengths: diverse career opportunities for contributing to the development and marketing of innovative products in an international, motivating and mutually respectful work environment. In addition, “Make great things happen” is also intended to reflect our strong social responsibility and our commitment to reconciling the demands of a career and a family as well as work and leisure. The positive impact of the campaign is confirmed by our ranking among the best employers for experienced scientists in Germany, which was completed between June and November 2012 by the company Universum following a survey of over 5,000 participants. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany reached sixth place out of 100 companies, which was an improvement of three places over 2011. By 2014, we want to revise the campaign in view of the repositioning of our company within the “Fit for 2018” program. Furthermore, in 2012 we adapted “Make great things happen” in Europe and the United States in order to especially attract potential new employees for R&D.

We also regularly present ourselves as an employer at recruitment fairs. In the 2011-2012 period, we focused our presence at fairs more strongly on potential young professionals for R&D. In addition, we make targeted use of new media, for example the business networks LinkedIn and Xing, in order to recruit experienced professionals and executives. We engage in a dialogue with students via our Facebook page. For this target group, we offer internships and mentoring programs within our company. In 2012, around 500 students completed an internship at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in Germany. Moreover, in 2012 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany participated as a founding partner in the “Careerloft” initiative – an online and offline exchange platform for students, graduates and companies.

In 2008, we launched a global electronic recruitment management platform. In 2011 and 2012, we introduced it across all business sectors and legal entities in Europe (except for Austria) as well as in Singapore and Thailand. At the end of 2013, it will be incorporated into the HR Suite integrated data management system and thus be available Group-wide.

Identifying talent within the company

To ensure the long-term success of our company, it is important to not only attract new, talented employees to our company, but also to retain existing staff and enable them to participate in continuing education. Here, our focus is on the personal and professional development of employees as well as career opportunities within the company.

Regular feedback discussions and employee performance evaluations are essential to a systematic development process. For this purpose, we introduced the Performance Management Process at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2008, which provides for annual feedback discussions and performance evaluations for employees rated Global Grade 10 and higher in our position assessment system. Apart from evaluating employee performance, it helps us to identify individual development opportunities. In addition, we assess whether our employees’ performance conforms to our values. The legal entities are responsible for applying the process also to employees in positions rated Global Grade 9 and lower. In many cases, these are subject to the regulations of the collective agreement and specific local statutory requirements. In 2011 and 2012, a total of 23,800 employees took part in the Performance Management Process.



of leadership positions filled with internal candidates

In 2012, we refined the Performance Management Process in order to better identify new talent within the company by means of performance evaluations. The new Performance and Talent process is also meant to strengthen the performance culture at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and to ensure that internal positions are filled in an even more efficient manner. It will be introduced incrementally starting in 2013 and is to be completed for the entire Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany by the end of 2014. The process will thus replace all previous tools in the areas of talent recruitment, performance evaluation, skill development, and compensation, and will likewise become an integral element of the new HR Suite. In 2012, we were already able to fill 88% of leadership positions with internal candidates.

Vocational and advanced training

Advanced training for our employees is an investment in our future. Additionally, we want to support our employees in optimally developing their personal and professional strengths. In 2012, we continued with our advanced training approach and harmonized it globally. The objective was to ensure that employees and managers around the world develop the skills that we need in order to implement our business strategy and strengthen our culture.

This also includes offering a catalog of advanced training courses that can also be adapted to specific regional needs if required. At the same time, we also redefined good management practices based on five criteria and adapted our seminars for all management levels accordingly. This approach will be introduced globally in 2013.

The U.S. magazine "Training"  named EMD Serono in the United States as one of 125 companies that excel in employer-sponsored training and development programs.

Apart from our advanced training options, we also offer three programs designed to develop and strengthen the leadership skills of future executives. The Future Leaders program supports employees in acquiring business and leadership skills in the early phases of their career. The participants take on strategic and cross-functional projects, and they work abroad for two years. Within the scope of the nine-month International Management Program, managers are to strengthen their ability to think globally. In cooperation with top international universities, the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany University offers a multi-regional, modular one-year program. In 2011 and 2012, a total of 118 employees classified as “talent” took part in these programs. Additionally, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany cooperates globally with universities in order to support employees who wish to study for an Executive MBA. In 2011 and 2012, five employees in Europe graduated from the Executive MBA program at Ashridge Business School in the United Kingdom and the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.

We view company vocational training of young people as one of the most important ways to prevent a potential shortage of trained staff due to demographic change. In Germany alone, more than 500 young people completed an apprenticeship in one of 23 vocations at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in both 2011 and 2012. Moreover, in Darmstadt we offer our one-year in-house work preparation program called “Start in den Beruf” (Preparing to join the workforce). In the 2011-2012 period, ten secondary school students who were previously unable to find an apprenticeship qualified themselves for the job market.

In order to ensure the quality of vocational training in technical production occupations in Darmstadt, during the 2011-2012 period Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany modernized the vocational training school pilot plant at the Peter Behrens School in Darmstadt for more than € 1 million. At the vocational training facility, which spans around 200 square meters, future chemical technicians and chemical production specialists use computer simulations and technical apparatuses to familiarize themselves with large-scale production processes.

“Zeitservice” – Supporting the restructuring process

With the personnel restructuring currently underway as part of “Fit for 2018”, it is particularly important to be able to find new placements for employees in other positions and units. Functioning as a hub, Zeitservice – our own internal temp agency – helps to find new jobs within the Group for employees whose positions have been eliminated. In addition, we support employees who need specific advanced training in order to meet the requirements of a new position. A team of HR staff and works council members are overseeing the entire process.

Performance-based pay

Competitive salaries and additional social benefits increase not only our attractiveness as an employer, they also serve to motivate and retain employees. At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, compensation is based exclusively on market analyses in the relevant field and the degree of responsibility, as well as the competence and performance of the relevant employee. Initial analyses of the salaries paid to men and to women do not reveal significant differences at the same hierarchical level.

The Global Rewards Policy introduced throughout Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2011 defines the framework for compensation and additional benefits. Additional social benefits orient toward local legal and market conditions. These may include, for instance, sick pay or a retirement pension.

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Goals: Attracting and developing talent











Strategic goal



Status in 2011 and 2012


Introduce a performance management system

Introduce performance management systems for all employees with target agreements, feedback and coaching

End of 2013

In 2012, 98% of employees took part in a performance and development evaluation.


Introduce development plans for all employees with performance evaluations, target agreements, feedback and coaching

End of 2013

By the end of 2012, development plans had been instituted for 77% of employees.


Introduce development plans for all managers from Millipore Corporation, which was acquired in 2010

End of 2011

The Global Grading System was introduced incrementally for the employees of Millipore Corporation, which was acquired in 2010. This process had not yet reached completion as of the end of 2011, which is why the status cannot be specified for the end of 2011. At the end of 2012, development plans were instituted for 85% of the management; this process is to be completed by the end of 2013.

Talent & Succession Management: Fill at least 2/3 of positions at global grade 16+ with internal candidates

Use the Talent & Succession Management Process to identify suitable employees with management potential and define a process to systematically develop employees


In 2011, we intitiated the Performance & Talent Process to systematically develop management. In 2012, 88% of the vacant management positions were filled internally.

Legend: Achieved In progress Not achieved New goal


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.


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